Armstead Paint Review, product guide and the best place to buy

Armstead Paint Review

by Mike Gregory


Armstead are owned and manufactured by AkzoNobel, who also own Dulux. You’ll find both brands sold side by side in hundreds of different outlets. Dulux Trade is AkzoNobel’s premium range of paint, whereas Armstead is supposed to be their budget. For me, as a decorator, this doesn’t do Armstead justice. As a standalone paint brand, they do some awesome products which are easily trade quality. Some are even better than their Dulux counterparts. They also do some very poor products. I thought I’d put together a guide which focused solely on Armstead. Makes a change as it normally seems to be Dulux that gets all the attention. This is my Armstead paint review.


First, let’s talk about the best place to buy Armstead paint. For me, if you want a physical store, you should look at Dulux Decorating Centre “DDC”. Remember, Dulux is owned by the same company as Armstead and by going to the source you can tap into some brilliant advice and product knowledge. DDC may not be the cheapest, but their staff are very well trained and knowledgeable. They also provide a free delivery service for phone orders.


Armstead is often cheaper online. The best place I have found to buy Armstead Paint online is The Paintshed. You can CLICK HERE to visit the Paintshed.


Right, let’s get into the products and my Armstead paint review


Armstead Vinyl Matt


Armstead vinyl matt leaves a true matt finish and you encounter very few problems such as picture framing and roller marks. Drying time is roughly 2 – 4 hours depending on conditions and you can have this product tinted into any Armstead colour. You can use it diluted to prime bare plaster and the price represents very good value indeed. The only real issue can be the opacity in pale colours. Every now and again you need to apply a third coat which can cost you time and money. As mentioned, it is only ever pale colours that give you any trouble. This is still a great product and one I use regularly. The finish is really nice.

9/10, Armstead vinyl matt is amazing value for money!


Armstead Vinyl Matt in White for a Ceiling


I know we’re basically talking about the same product again, but I wanted to talk about white vinyl matt as a separate entity. Simply because it is one of my favourite products to use on a ceiling. I am very particular about the white emulsion I use on ceilings as you can experience some very noticeable blemishes, particularly in big rooms with lots of light. The wrong product shows flashing, roller marks and surface blemishes a lot more than they’d show on a wall. Armstead white (avoid brilliant white) leaves a dull, rich finish without any of the issues I’ve just mentioned. Opacity is great too, as is the price. Well worth picking up.

another 9/10


Armstead Durable Matt


I love Armstead durable matt!! It is very cheap compared to other durable matt emulsions on the market and you can achieve a true matt finish. In fact, the finish is lovely!! No flashing or roller marks at all really. Again, opacity in pale colours can be an issue, more so than in the Armstead vinyl matt so expect to have to apply a third coat on occasion. This is the only thing you need to look out for.

8/10, superb paint for the price



Armstead Acrylic Eggshell


Another durable emulsion, but unlike Armstead durable matt, the eggshell has more of a sheen to it. Brilliant in bathrooms, kitchens and high traffic areas, but probably not quite durable enough to use on woodwork like you could with some other brands of eggshell. I do like this product though and I can’t see much difference between this and it’s Dulux counterpart. Then again, eggshell is eggshell. It all pretty much looks the same in any brand.




Armstead Contract Matt


Armstead contract matt is a product I really don’t like!! It’s ok for priming bare plaster, but that is about it!! A high sheen level leads to flashing and picture framing so the finish is horrible. I avoid this product whenever I can. It does sprays ok(ish)

3/10 – Avoid this one



Armstead Oil-Based Satinwood


Armstead oil-based satinwood is self-undercoating on previously painted woodwork. The finish is good, opacity is brilliant, and it is cheap. For the price you are getting an amazing product. I have no issues using it on a job and I’d recommend it to anyone. It can take a while to dry and the paint can often still be tacky the next day.



Armstead Oil-Based Undercoat and Gloss


The undercoat is fine. It is the correct viscosity to do a job without being diluted, the adhesion is great, opacity is good, blocks stains well, dries quickly for oil-based and it’s easy to use. Everything you want from an undercoat really.


I wouldn’t bother with the Armstead gloss though. Don’t get me wrong, it looks ok once you’ve finished the job. The only reason I’d avoid it is because of the longevity. Not that I’ve tested the longevity, so this comment may be completely unjustified, but if you’re going to use oil-based gloss, don’t skimp. Buy premium paint wherever you can.


Armstead Quick-Dry Satinwood


Armstead QD Satinwood is a fully water-based system. You need to use a separate adhesion primer if going over a previously painted surface and Armstead don’t do one. Most people use Dulux QD undercoat or ultra-grip primer. Brush marks can be an issue, but no more than most other water-based satins. The massive issue with this product is it can take an age to cure…. I’m talking days sometimes!! Don’t use it in a bathroom whatever you do!! This is a product you should avoid.



Armstead Quick-Dry Gloss


Avoid at all costs!! A fully water-based system which leaves heavy brush marks and a grainy finish. Not worth bothering with!! It is very cheap though.


Armstead Smooth Masonry Paint


Armstead smooth masonry paint does everything a premium masonry paint will do. The ease of application is bang on, opacity is ok but nothing special and the finish is very nice. If you put Armstead up against Dulux Weathershield you will see a big difference in quality, but only because I believe Dulux Weathershield to be one of the best masonry paints on the market.



What do Other Decorators Think About Armstead Trade Paint?

 I use Armstead oil based Satinwood regularly, it’s a great product that’s not too thick to use or apply. Great price and would highly recommend.

Adrian Bird

 I’m a big fan of Armstead!! I mainly use the durable matt, oil satinwood and the primer/undercoat. The price is really good for the quality of the materials. I stay away from the Armstead contract matt emulsion as it flashes on ceilings and doesn’t leave a great finish compared to the more expensive Dulux Supermatt.


The durability of the Durable matt emulsion is really good in my opinion and the sheen level is really low in comparison to other durable matts. The coverage on the satin is great. I would highly recommend most Armstead products

Sam Weaver - Armstead Paint Review - The Dulux Alternative

I always use the Armstead equivalent to all Dulux products. For the difference in price I’d say the quality is on par!

Richard Hill

I always have Armstead Trade Satinwood in my van. I can’t see much difference in quality from the Dulux trade satin, also £20 cheaper then Dulux, flows lovely and no need to thin down

Paul Oakes

In fairness, I used Armstead first time couple weeks back. Black oil-based gloss. It was better than the Dulux High Gloss I’d run out of. Straight from can, brushed lovely, flowed out great and nicer sheen to the Dulux Black Gloss. Something I’d always walked by thinking inferior and cheap but would definitely use again.

Gerard Richardson

Armstead paint not only outperforms Dulux, but it also outperforms Leyland and Macpherson which are the equivalent ranges from the other two big paint manufacturers in the UK. The Armstead durable matt emulsion lacks a little bit in opacity and occasionally takes an extra coat, but it’s cheaper than most trade vinyl matts and the finish is to die for!! I used this on most of my jobs instead of normal emulsion. Customers love it.

I love the vinyl matt too. For something that’s so cheap, it covers bare plaster in two coats and looks brilliant. It has a low sheen level meaning you don’t see picture framing or roller marks. I just wish you could still get any Dulux colour matched into Armstead, like you could a couple of years ago. You can save a fortune by switching over to Armstead.

I don’t agree with the review of the Quick Dry Gloss by the way. I like the stuff. It’s fully water-based so looks awesome for years. Just lay off your last coat correctly and you’re onto a winner.

Scott Murphy - Armstead Paint Review - The Dulux Alternative

After ignoring it on the shelf for years I tried Armstead White vinyl Matt emulsion on a customer’s ceiling. The ceiling was in good condition, just needed a freshen up. I gave it two coats of Armstread and it looked awful. Showed all cutting in and roller marks as the light shone on the ceiling. It was late in the day and I had to explain to the customer that I won’t leave it in that state and will sort it out tomorrow. I gave it two coats of Johnstone’s the next morning at my cost. Never again.

Walk past the Armstead shelf.


Graham Bodie

I use Armstead trade daily and for the price there is nothing like it on the market in my opinion.


The durable Matt and the vinyl Matt perform well in dark colours and the durability is as claimed.

The contract Matt is bang on for the price point, sprays well and bleaches out well.

The quick dry satin is fantastic for rentals and the quick dry gloss performs well against its rivals.

Dale Ell

Found the Armstead contract white awful on bare plaster…crown or Johnstone’s for me🤘

Wayne Herbert West Playford

The paint from Armstead is ok.

High gloss is good but as with all the cheaper brands it does occasionally require additional coats.

Emulsion is the same but for the price it’s very good👍👍

Steve West - Armstead Paint Review - The Dulux Alternative

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